UGANDA: 24 –Year –Old Man, 9 Others Up Against Museveni in the Presidential Race

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John Katumba’s posters hanged in front of a van

John Katumba, a 24 year –old man has joined the presidential race after he was dully nominated by the Electoral Commission on 3rd November, 2020. The fresh graduate from Makerere University and nine other candidates will battle with Uganda’s long-serving president Yoweri Museveni Kaguta in the 2021 general elections.

The presidential candidates are Maj. Gen. Mugisha Muntu of the Alliance for National Transformation Party –ANT, Gen. Henry Tumukunde of the Renewed Uganda Platform, Patrick Oboi Amuriat of the Forum for Democratic Change -FDC and Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu aka Bobi Wine of the National Unity Platform –NUP.

Others are Nobert Mao of the Democratic Party –DP, Willy Mayambala, Fred Mwesigye, Joseph Kyabuleta and Nancy Kalembe, who is the only female aspirant in the high profile race.

The two -day nomination exercise that ended on Tuesday afternoon was characterized by a lot of drama and brutality from the security.
On the first day of the exercise where Yoweri Museveni, Maj. Gen. Musgisha Muntu and Gen. Henry Tumukunde nominated, there was no arrest or harassment of the candidates by the securities.

However, things got heated and messed up on the second day. At around 10 am, Patrick Oboi Amuriat got arrested by police while trying to access his party head office at Najanankumi in Kampala city. He was whisked away in a saloon car only to be dropped at the nomination center at Kyambogo University playground bare foot.

At Ntinda and Kisaasi, both suburbs in Kampala City, police fired tear gas at the raucous supporters of Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu, also known as Bobi wine, in a bid disperse them away for other presidential hopeful to pass without.

Kyagulanyi told journalists from a fuel station in Ntinda where his punctured car was being fixed—few hours after leaving his residence. It appeared that each and every time Mr. Wine moved, police would stop him—as if with the intention to delay him. His nomination was scheduled for 10 am but he arrived at the center half an hour later, and was finally nominated for the top seat.

For Nobert Mao, John Katumba and Nancy Kalembe, the trio were to be nominated on the first day, but due to few challenges meeting their requirements, they were forced to be nominated on the second day.

Upon their successful nominations, all the candidates were given a double cabin vehicle with security detail to guard them during the election processes. They each addressed the press from the nomination center.

Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu, who is the main opposition figure revealed that he is not the most experienced leader but noted that he has a high commitment towards liberating the Ugandans. He also faulted president Museveni for failing to hand over power peacefully.

Kyagulanyi added that: “I am the representative of those who have been excluded from the system, the Boda –Boda riders, those whose lands have been looted, the businessmen who failed because of high interest rates by the banks, the poor soldiers and police officers who brutalize people on order, the youth who work so hard but get nothing in return and the journalist who are working under oppression.” He said

He also pledged for affordable health care services to all Ugandans and the increment of the salaries of police, army and prison officers ‘where the lowest earner shall be getting 1 million shillings monthly.’

Meanwhile Nobert Mao, the two-time presidential contestant pledged that upon successful election as the president of Uganda, he will see that all government assets that have been privatized by the current regime shall be reclaimed.

He adds that he is the only candidate capable of leading this country, which according to him, is in an economic disarray, He is said his campaign as Democratic Party shall be about values and vision.

“We have challenges in this country, we have a polarized country. Uganda needs a person who can unite the various components of our nation,” said Mao. “This campaign should be about the characters of the candidates not ethnic identities, not religious identities, it should be about their vision for Uganda and the values that they uphold in their lives.”

However, for the youngest aspirant John Katumba, who couldn’t hide his smiles after the nomination, having Uganda that can shine is the only thing he wishes to see once elected the president.

“Personally, I compete on a global trend and I think Uganda will also compete on a global trend. If others can, I think we can also make it.” The excited katumba revealed

He also promulgated that his regime shall fight to end unemployment, which is rampant among the youth, land grabbing, poverty, corruption and also ensure that women are empowered.

For Nancy Kalembe who had been initially dismissed by the Electoral Commission for failure to provide proof of payment of 20 million shillings as nomination fees, she is hopeful that Uganda is ready for its first female president. Her slogan is ‘Leaving no one behind.”
On Monday 2nd after his nomination, President Yoweri Museveni launched the National Resistance Movement party –NRM manifesto for 2021 -2026.

The 374 pages’ booklet dubbed “Securing your Future” stands on the four key principles of the party which are; Patriotism, Pan Africanism, Socio –economic Transformation and Democracy.

During the launch at Speke Resort Hotel Munyonyo in Kampala, President Museveni revealed that the manifesto prioritizes defense because when security of the country and the entire region is guaranteed, more investors are attracted into the country hence, creating more jobs.

Other areas of focus include; electricity, roads and railways, health, government scientists’ salaries and wealth funds like Emyooga, respectively.

Museveni also revealed he will focus more on empowering 19 percent of the Ugandans who are living below the poverty line.
The Manifesto was produced by a committee chaired by Prof. Ephraim Kamuntu, the Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs.

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